New Study Says Booster Seats May Be Unsafe

Filed Under Car Safety, Product Safety 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reported Wednesday that 13 booster seats don’t put children in an optimal position to be protected in a car crash. IIHS President Adrian Lund said the 13 boosters they don’t recommend “may increase restraint use by making children more comfortable, but they don’t position belts for optimal protection.” The IIHS rated booster seats in 3 groups, 13 were not recommended, 10 were rated “best bets” and 5 booster seats were “good bets”:

Not Recommended by IIHS:

  • Safety Angel Ride Ryte backless
  • Cosco/Dorel (Eddie Bauer) Summit
  • Graco CarGo Zephyr
  • Evenflo Big Kid Confidence
  • Cosco/Dorel Traveler
  • Compass B505
  • Compass B510
  • Evenflo Generations
  • Dorel/Safety 1st (Eddie Bauer) Prospect
  • Cosco Highback Booster
  • Cosco/Dorel Alpha Omega
  • Evenflo Chase Comfort Touch
  • Safety 1st/Dorel Intera

Best Bets by IIHS:

  • Graco TurboBooster backless with clip
  • Fisher-Price Safe Voyage backless with clip
  • Combi Kobuk backless with clip
  • Fisher-Price Safe Voyage
  • Britax Parkway
  • LaRoche Bros. Teddy Bear
  • Safeguard Go backless with clip
  • Volvo booster cushion
  • Recaro Young Style
  • Britax Monarch

Good Bets (when used as a highback, were acceptable):

  • Graco TurboBooster
  • Safety Angel Ride Ryte
  • Recaro Young Sport
  • Combi Kobuk
  • Safety 1st/Dorel Apex 65

Important!: Your child needs to be in a proper height/weight restraint.  PERIOD. The government recommends car seats for children up to 40 pounds and booster seats for children over 40 pounds until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. All children should ride in the back seat until age 13. It’s about the fit with a booster seat.  Boosters act as a way to safely position seat belts on your child’s body and should:

  • The seat belt is meant to be routed across a child’s lower hips and mid-shoulders instead of the abdomen because the liver and spleen are more vulnerable to injuries.
  • Seat should be properly installed.  Call your local Fire Department to find out how to have the installation checked.

“No matter how a booster did in our evaluations, parents still need to see how it fits their child in their car,” Lund advises. He urges them “not to rush to buy a new booster if theirs isn’t among the top seats. Check how it fits and remember, it’s better for children to ride restrained in any booster than to let them ride unbuckled.”

Before you toss your booster seat read through this information provided by the IIHS.  CBS News has a neat little video as well:

Sources and interesting reading:
CBS News Article with video
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Nature’s Child Blog

Posted by: SafeMama Kathy on October 3, 2008

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